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Jalil Maiilo

Jalil Maiilo 1943-1993

When we in Syriac Music decided to write about Jalil Maiilo, we wondered if he should be categorized as a priest or as a singer. This wonder was because he had an important role as a singer at the end of the sixties and on the other hand he was a good priest relating to his voice and ability to develop the church melodies. At the end we decided to talk about Jalil Maiilo the singer-priest.

Jalil Maiilo was born in Kamishli 1943 of a famous deacon-father later Georges Maiilo. He was born with a high instinctive musical attention and inherited an intuitive love for the oriental music and certainly the music of the Syriac Orthodox Church. At home he used to listen to his father while singing the church hymns and melodies. Of his father he learned Syriac and his way of singing.

Jalil Maiilo didn’t study any music anywhere whoever he was, as like as his father, a Tenor. Of his father he learned a special way of performing the difficult type of prayers called “Takheshfotho” (supplications).

His role in spreading the Syriac folksong was apparent between 1969-1975. He sang many of Georges Chachan’s songs like “Bghaw Kamishli”, “Bayto Shafiro Latli”, “Alfo Shlomé Wshayné” and others. Jalil Maiilo was the only singer to perform the new folksongs that was composed in Kamishli after that Habib Mousa left to Beirut. Maiilo sang almost all the songs at that period. He sang “Rhimto dleb wardé mzabno” of Joseph Malki, “Shamo mar” and “Barimo a’mi britho” of Fawlos Mikhael and others. Because of his voice capacity the composers had the opportunity to compose songs with developed melodies.

In 1979 he was ordained a priest to the Syriac Orthodox Church in Zahle. From that time he refrained from singing folk songs anymore. One year after becoming priest, H.H. Mor Eghnatios Zakai I was ordained a patriarch. Only two priests from all the Syriac Orthodox Churches in the world were needed to serve the mass, and Father Jalil Maiilo was one of those two. His performance was distinguished in the mass that broadcasted live in Syria.

Father Jalil Maiilo departed after a heart attack at the age of fifty years in Zahlé – Lebanon leaving his living voice in the hearts of a greater assembles of people in Syria, Lebanon and in the minds of everyone listened to him.



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